tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 15, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
kentucky. police say a third victim was taken to the hospital with severe injuries and the motive for the shooting is unknown at the time. that's what we've been told. it's unknown whether they were suspects or witnesses. keep you updated on that. thanks for watching. anderson starts right now. >> erin, thanks. we begin as we do every night keeping them honest, offering up facts, not opinions. our goal is just reporting, finding the truth and calling out hipo ochlhipocrisy. lance armstrong over the last 24 hours, he cheated, lied about it for years and years and years and now he is reportedly coming clean, somewhat. using performance-enhancing
drugs to win bicycle races. oprah said that he was forthcoming but did not come clean in the manner in which she expected. what that means is not clear. oprah is too good to give it all away. >> i choose not to characterized. i would rather people make their own decisions whether he was contrite or not. i felt he was thoughtful. i thought that he was serious. i thought that he certainly had prepared himself for this moment. i would say that he met the moment. and at the end of it, two and a half -- literally two and a half hours, we both were pretty exhausted. and i would say i was satisfied. >> well, whatever ultimately made it to tape -- we won't know till later this week, long-time followers of armstrong say they are not ready to take anything he says at face value. reporters, teammates and even one-time fans all describe him as a born manipulator who will do whatever it takes for only
one person, lance armstrong. keep in mind as they point to a record of lying that rivals his record of winning. >> we're sick and tired of these allegations and we're going to do everything we can to fight them. they're absolutely untrue. >> i've said it for seven years. i've said it for longer than seven years. i have never doped. i can say it again. but i've said it for seven years. it doesn't help. >> how could it have taken place when i've never taken performance-enhancing drugs? >> go back to 1995, steven schwart, riding with you, kiwi on a motorola team. he has told espn when the team was struggling in 1995 that you announced the team you were going to begin doping and encouraged other teammates to do the same. what do you say to that account? >> complete nonsense. >> it can't be any clearer that i've never taken drugs, then incidents like that couldn't have happened. >> why would i enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? no, no way.
>> my case, i came out of a life-threatening disease. i was on my death bed. do you think i'm going to come back intoey sport and say, okay, i just want to go fast. no way! would never do that. >> lance armstrong denying it all, time and time again. since then, u.s. anti-doping agency has put out more than 1,000 pages of allegations and evidence against armstrong and his teammates, calling armstrong's drug ring the most sophisticated in the history of sports. he has been stripped of his seven tour de france titles, barred from competition, stepped down from the live strong charity that he founded. until now he has denied everything. he has a long history of lashing out at people who tried to expose him, the people who dared to suggest that armstrong was on something other than his bike. that was, in many cases, a brave stance to take. in almost every case it was followed by a lance armstrong sponsored scorch earth campaign. once described him as one of his closest friends, teammates in the 1990s.
frankie and his wife betsy frequently socialized with armstrong. this picture shows the three of them cooking dinner in 1995 together. what would become a quickly pattern, armstrong turned on the andreas after they testified that armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs. armstrong vehementally deny ied using drugs. calling her vindictive and jealous and portrayed her husband as bitter because his cycling contract with armstrong's team was not renewed after the 2000 season. then there was this, a voicemail left for betsy andreu by a friend and associate of armstrong. >> i hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head but i also hope that one day you will have adversity in your life and you have some type of tragedy. it's pathetic, betsy. i thought you were a better person than that. >> betsy andreu provided the
voicemail to the new york daily new news as evidence of the threats and intimidation she says they suffered. then there's greg lamand, the only american to win the most grueling race before armstrong went on his string of seven straight wins. the relationship between the two men was anything but close, especially after lamande questioned armstrong's association with a controversial italian doctor named mikali ferrari. he says armstrong was clearly upset at l machlt a. who does greg think he is, talking about ferrari? i'm going to take him down. and he did. armstrong had great influence with the bike sponsored trekk which dropped its support of lamond's brand, damaging his bike business. he also intimidated his critics and rivals during competition. in the 2004 tour de france, armstrong comfortably held the race's overall lead but surprised everyone when he
chased down filipo cimioni. why? only to punish him and prove a point. he had crossed armstrong in the past by testifying against dr. ferrari about doping. armstrong publicly called simioni a liar and told him privately he could, quote, destroy him. after catching him, this gesture of armstrong during the race was widely seen to be directed toward simioni, a warning to stay silent. teammate tyler hamilton fo followed a code of silence until this "60 minutes" interview. >> you saw lance armstrong inject epo? >> yeah, like we all did. like i did many, many times. >> after that interview aired, hamilton began to cooperate with the federal investigation into armstrong. he was physically acosted by armstrong inside a restaurant according to an affidavit and armstrong told hamilton he would make his life a living hell.
>> why would they say these things? >> armstrong was asked in an interview about espn about his former friends and teammates who testified about doping. >> i surrounded myself with, at ti times, questionable people and i've not, in the past, been great with -- when riders leave teams or relationships end, perhaps i haven't handled that properly and i admit that freely and personally people hate that. i would hate it, too. but why people would lie and tell stories -- some of them, obviously, were paid. some of them had other motives. that's clear. >> so he's lying there. he heard a bit from tyler hamilton, he and daniel coyle have co-written "the secret race: inside the tour de france race." i spoke with daniel coyle along with espn analyst. what i don't understand is why armstrong is doing this now.
just a few months ago, he had a chance to avoid lifetime banishment. they invited him to come clean to be part of the solution. he turned them down flat. what happened between then and now? what changed? >> this is a perfect way into the way lance's brain works, very god at looking at them in a binary way. it's not about being consistent with him. it's about winning and that brain is really built for that. this point you figure the best path forward was to go to oprah. that's what he's doing. the problem that he faces is that you can win the tour de france but it's hard to win a confession. that has to do with genuine feeling. it has to do with contrition. >> juliette, you were saying the most important thing to remember is that armstrong is an athlete, that he's not in this to say sorry, clean up cycling or help charity. he wants to compete in competitions and he can't do that now. >> exactly. i think the difference between several months ago and now is that he has had several months of no competition and for a guy like lance armstrong, that must
be torture. he has been an athlete since he has just been a little kid, like a teenager. he was a professional triathlete and barely finished high school because of his triathlon career and he has had time to think about how he is lonely, how he doesn't have the adulation of fans at the finish line and nobody to beat right now and it's driving him nuts. >> legally, roger, there's a whole bunch of reasons why he should not have done this, right? >> yeah. you know, i hear what the other guests are saying, but as a lawyer, it goes against everything i know. i'm not the only one who knows the liability he's facing. he has wonderful lawyers who have given him advice over the years. he is looking at, in excess, if everything goes wrong, judgments in excess of perhaps $100 million. i am actually waiting to see how much he really confesses and what he confesses to. >> legally, who does he owe money to if he's -- depending on who decides to sue him or
currently who is suing him? >> there's a whistleblowers lawsuit going on right now that floyd landis has brought and that the justice department may join. that has to do with all of the money he got from the u.s. po postal service and the question is, did he get it under false pretenses? under his contract, he said that he would do nothing that would bring him embarrassment, and not use drugs. so if he gets up and admits that he breached that contract under the whistleblower statute, he not only has to pay back all the money he has, he has taken, but could get hit with trouble damages, which means three times the amount of money he's taking. >> it is pretty -- >> this is what makes lance lance. he likes risk. this is why he has succeeded in this corrupt world of cycling for so long. smuggling bags of blood underneath dog kennels into the tour, giving transfusions on the bus during the tour. he doesn't shy away from risk. that's what this is. he has made the calculation. he has a net worth over $100 million. he probably won't lose all of
it. >> you think he will have to pay back some of these lawsuits? >> he will pay back some. he will settle. the government settles these sort of cases. let's say he loses 50 million bucks, he still has a fair amount. he's not going to starve. more importantly, he will have his narrative back, his life as a competitive athlete back. the question is, is he going to apologize to the people he hurt along the way? we talk about this as if he's the only part of the story. in fact, he's not. the story is much bigger than just him. >> he has great pr. but, as you and i talked about before, juliette, he was a jerk to an awful lot of people. i mean, he sought to destroy people who would testify against him, who had spoken the truth. >> i think jerk is an understatement. i think a lot of those people are devastated right now. and i don't really know what to think when he's calling some of these people up to apologize. i actually spoke to a few people he has reached out to and they're like dumbfounded. they don't know whether to believe him or not. >> did you see him threaten
people, reporters who reported things that he felt were inappropriate? >> well, i mean, he has threatened lawsuits many, many times against reporters, including one that he actually won, a libel lawsuit against the sunday times of london when a writer, david walsh, one of his earliest naysayers, shall we say, published some information in the paper that said he had doped. he won that lawsuit. of course, the sunday times of london is asking for that money back right now. he was a master at intimidating people. he had this great story going on, a fairytale story from the very first time he won the tour de france and people were enamored with it, including many of the journalists covering it. if anybody wrote anything that was negative, he sometimes would call you on the phone in the morning, yelling at you or criticizing you, or he would actually blackball you and not give you any interviews if you wrote anything negative. and for a journalist who had made their money or made their
living covering cycling or covering lance armstrong, to not get access to lance, that meant they were dead in the water. he had a lot of power. >> can he portray himself as just one of many people on his team who dope? because a written article in the times, i think it was, that seemed to indicate that's the way he was going to spin this. he wasn't at the epicenter of this. >> he can try to do that. i think it's going to be difficult for him because of the thousand pages. >> right. >> of the evidence that paint a very different picture. >> right. >> because of the book "the secret race" that paints a very different picture. he used his power ruthlessly. >> lance armstrong called the shots on that team. he was the star of the team. everybody was there to make sure he won, right? >> he was the tony soprano. >> yeah. >> literally extensions of his bo body. their power was his power. that's how he used it. when you crossed him, he cut you dead. you were gone. >> it will be interesting, julia, to see how he plays this.
2 1/2 hours, oprah will air this over two nights and she said she was prepared, she had done a lot of reading, watched a lot of his interviews and was prepared to get very specific and found that she didn't have to do that if he denied one thing, she would say, well, what about on page such and such of this book. she said she didn't have to do that. whether that means he got specific or -- i'm not sure how to read that. what do you think? >> i think oprah is great. she's a great business woman and a great interviewer. i'm sure she prepared a lot for this interview. i guarantee you that lance armstrong prepared more. he had about a dozen people telling him what to do, what to say, how to act. i'm sure he went over and over in a mirror to get the right facial expressions, to find the right emotions. this is his chance on turning his life around. >> it's going to be fascinating to watch. juliette mcker, daniel coyle and roger cossack, thank you.
>> thank you. flat out crazy claims being made about the newtown shootings, that the massacre may have been staged is now accusing me of targeting him and trying to do him harm and his family harm. we're keeping them honest shall ahead. this is karen and jeremi. they don't know it yet, but they're gonna fall in love, get marrahead. have , ahead. aughing ] move to the country, and live a long, happy life together where they almost never fight about money. [ dog barks ] because right after they get married, they'll find some retirement people who are paid on salary, not commission. they'll get straightforward guidance and be able to focus on other things, like each other, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. it's just common sense. ...so as you can see, geico's customer satisfaction is at 97%. mmmm tasty. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts. so we're taking you behind the scenes. this coffee cup, for example, is computer animated.
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theories about the shootings at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. if you don't know about this, you are going to be stunned. we were in newtown last night. number of residents have been inundated by prank calls by people who think they are part of a government and media conspiracy. it's not just some internet extremists alleging these conspiracies. this is james tracy, tenure professor at a school that is taxpayer funded. he claims the shooting at sandy hook elementary did not happen as reported and may not have happened at all. here is what he wrote. one is left to inquiry whether the sandy hook shooting ever took place, at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described. normally we wouldn't dignify these types of remarks by
covering them but james tracy is a tenure professor at a public university. his comments have caused deep distress to the victims' families. he gave a statement saying, quote, i apologize for any additional anguish and grief my remarks, and how they have been taken out of context and misrepresented, who may have caused the families that lost loved ones on december 14ingth. at the same time i believe what we can give them is a way to identi identify. basically accused me on his blog of targeting him and his family. he posted as a question, as he often does, in the headline of the post, does anderson cooper want james tracy and/or his family members harmed? he also includes a photo of me that looks like i'm in the middle of a rant. i'm not actually. that's a picture of me from an interview i did with comedian
kathy griffin on her show. it's not even from this show. in the blog post tracy says because i named him and showed his picture on friday i must have wanted to cause him harm. i can assure him and everyone else, that is not the case. i believe in free speech and professor tracy has the right to say whatever he wants. but as a too mucher at a public university, we think he should be accountable for the things he says and be willing to defend them. about that, tracy makes the case, if you want to call it a case, that news organizations and the government may have worked together to dupe you, the public, in order to gain support for gun control laws. he even suggested that government may have hired trained crisis actors. at the very least, they think that reporters botched the story by not digging deep enough and really investigating what happened in newtown. earlier reports that other suspects were arrested after the shooting, suggesting that perhaps there was more than one gunman. this is a major point many
conspiracy theorists argue, that reporters never followed up on who was arrested. that is not true. we know, for instance, that manfordonia was handcuffed by police the morning of the shooting. he confirmed that to us. he was on his way to the school to help make gingerbread houses with first graders when he heard popping sounds and smelled sulfur. he ended up in handcuffs. tracy isn't the only one claiming sandy hook might have been staged. others say the family of emilie park parker, who passionately spoke about his daughter, this man who spoke about his daughter, came out and spoke to reporters about his daughter being killed, you probably watched this speech. many say he was an actor pretending to be a grieving father. the family of emilie parker has had to take down her online memorial page because they've come under attack on the comment section on site by these conspiracy theorists. some say that emilie, in fact, actually didn't die.
as proof, they prove that a dress emilie wore is the same dress her little sister wore when the family met with president obama after the shooting. the internet conspiracy theorists say that is not emili's sister at all, that is emilie herself. her father, robbie wrote, as a country we cannot let ourselves become derailed by the claims made by a number of people. this time is sacred for my family and for all those affected by this event. we cannot let these false claim s corrupt us. it's another for an associate professor at a university to do it. we were hoping to talk to the professor tonight. we asked him again yesterday if he would come on tonight. today he called us back and said he couldn't come on because he teaches a class on tuesday nights. we offered to send a satellite truck or pretape the interview. he declined.
out in front reporting on this sandy hook conspiracy theorists. believe it or not, conspiracy theorists have been making outrageous false claims about that massacre as well. al alex, one of these conspiracy videos have gotten numerous hits on youtube and a lot of the cla claims are based on initial reporting, which we all know is often inaccurate. instead of seeing it as the fog of war, have you seen a theme as to why people believe the media and the government are in cahoots to hire actors? >> study conspiracy theories there's a threadere that goes back all the way to roswell, and the militia movement. these are people who are inclined to believe that the government is out to get them anyway. the media is in cahoots with it and jump on events like sandy hook as further confirmation of these things. basically they're kind of -- they have this confirmation buy as, psychologists call it, to
look for only evidence that supports their theories and disregard anything that says otherwise. in a way it kind of helps explain what happened, it explains this tragedy, it kind of gives meaning to why all these children died. >> alex, you spoke to a man named gene rosen, who sheltered six students fleeing from sandy hook in his house. i actually spoke to him last night. he came up to me off camera. we didn't -- and he was weeping because he is being harassed by people who believe he made up the entire experience, that he is some part of some sort of government hoax. >> yeah. this is really tragic. this is a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time to help. he lives just down the street from the school. he heard the shooting and found six kids on his driveway. he took them inside, gave them food, called their parents and sat with them and talked with them. then he kind of became a very public figure in the days acid, gave a lot of media appearances because he told me he wanted to highlight the bravery of these children.
but now he has had his whole world turned upside down by these people. they've called him at his house, sent threatening e-mails, created fake google plus and youtube accounts in his name. he is afraid. it's really outrageous. >> jordan, you say there are people that say you are lying about your sister's murder in aurora. >> correct. exactly what alex was saying, that i was a crisis actor, that this was a government false lag operation, thoughts of how the government is out to pull the wool over our eyes, if you will, and mislead us to let obama take away gun rights. >> you say you've actually this death threats from some of them. >> i have received one death threat that was investigated by three separate state entities and the feds. >> when you -- it's one thing -- it's bad enough to be breevg gr the loss of your sister, but to be attacked online and have people contact you, what is that like for you? >> i'm not worried about the
safety of myself or my family. i'm worried about these individuals. this is an abhorrent behavior. when you reject facts of reality and grasp to this idea that the government is out to get you, it's a slippery slope. what's next? the helicopters that fly over your house, the medevac copters, they're out to get you. these are the type of people that should not have weapons and should not have a platform to speak, but should be seeking health care. >> they say we're just asking these questions. under that ruse, you can asking anything you want, say the most heinous things and say, look, we're just asking questions. >> that's absolutely right. it is a fine line. we don't want to trample on the rights of free speech but asking questions also means asking questions of these conspiracy theorists and they just don't stand up to any kind of logic or
interrogation of the facts. if they are actually asking questions, then ask why 99% of the evidence disproves what they're claiming and only this tiny little thing supports what they're trying to say. >> it's also so upsetting because i interviewed family members who those videos have now popped up on some of these conspiracy videos that have been viewed millions of times and people are saying -- the people that i interviewed are trained actors, that no grieving parent could possibly smile when recounting how beautiful their little girl is. and no grieving parent could appear on a camera without weeping when talking about their child. and that's just -- that's just not true. i've interviewed so many people in grief and this is one of the interviews people have pointed to. the other one is another sbru i did with a man and wife whose little daughter, grace, was murdered. and, you know, the idea that grief has a certain timetable or that you have to appear a certain way and that a parent couldn't have a smile on their
face when recounting their beautiful little girl -- jordan, it just seems -- it's so offensive, i think. >> it's incredibly offensive. within days of the shooting, there were videos online just like that from info wars and other networks out there stating i was an actor, that there's no way i could deal with this the way that i had dealt with it and that my use of social media just proves -- they were digging through even facebook photos and photos i posted years prior with a s.w.a. tncht team i trained with saying, look, he's really an officer, there were multiple shooters. he could have been at the theater. it's just a complete rejection of reality and facts. many of their statements are completely contradictory, in fact. >> the idea that, you know, you have to lk a certain way when you're grieving, there are parents i interviewed on camera who cried off camera before the interview and had to steel themselves, but felt it was important to tell the story of who their child was and they
want people to know who their child was, not just how their child got killed, but how their child lived their life. for these people, these anonymous internet trolls and this professor to suddenly be suggesting just asking questions, alex, it just -- i don't know. i just think it really -- i know for a lot of the families in newtown, it's a -- it's something they never thought that they would have to deal with. >> yeah. another thing is that when you blame the government or whoever, you're actually removing the blame from the actual perpetrator and putting it on somebody else. in this quest to speak the truth or whatever, they're really doing a disservice to everyone involved. >> alex, i appreciate your reporting, as i said. i honestly didn't know about this until i learned some of your stuff last week and that's when we started reporting on it as well. jordan i'm so sorry you have had to deal with these people and i wish you continued strength and peace in the days ahead. >> thank you for keeping them
honest, anderson. newtown and a woman authorities say was trying to turn the tragedy into cash. remember, we told you about her. her name is noel alba. we think it's important we name these people. she lives here in new york. she was falsely claiming to be noah pozner's aunt and soliciting donations in his name. here is what happened when our producer david fitzpatrick paid her a visit. >> oh, hi, are you miss alba? you've set up, you say, donations on behalf of one of the victims of the newtown tragedy? >> no. >> no? >> no. >> this is your name and address on the e-mail. >> no. i'm going to show you what i have. come in. >> i can come in with my camera crew? >> no. close the door. >> she went on to claim that people in the -- in the -- in the crafting community that she's a crafter and that she has enemies in the crafting community who are out to get her. today a grand jury in bridgeport, connecticut, indicted her.
she faces one count of making false statements into newtown rela related fund-raising fraud. we'll continue to stay on that story. how the white house plans to prevent another tragedy or hopes to. breaking news, details on what you'll have to wait to hear tomorrow for president obama to formally announce, steps he is planning to take to curb gun violence and one that will be a tough sell with lawmakers. jessica yellin has the inside info, next. ♪ let's face it. everyone has their own way of doing things. at university of phoenix we know learning is no different.
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details of president obama's announcement tomorrow, including one step that gun advocates say is simply a nonstarter, chief correspondent jessica yellin has done a lot of dig iging. >> hey, anderson, tomorrow when the president unveils his proposal, you can expect him to press for a ban on all high-capacity magazines with bullets or ten bullets or more, a background check for all gun sales that includes mental health and criminal background checks that would apply to gun shows, private sales and would crack down on what's called private swaps. if i privately try to sell a gun to you, even that would require a background check under the legislation he is pressing for. he would press for an assault weapons ban and also for more funds to either be made available or additional funding to be introduced for mental health preparedness and also to make school safety even more
readily available. some of this, anderson, some of these steps he can take could be through executive action but most of the ones i outlined just now would require congressional approval. >> the major one and probably the most difficult would be assault weapons ban. >> reporter: yes, it would be. i'll tell you, i've had a number of conversations with democrats who have met with the vice president and they have downplayed the assault weapons ban to me. they have said their top priorities are making universal background checks the law of the land and making a ban on a high-capacity ammunition the law of the land. they say that those two components could do even more to improve gun safety than the assault weapons ban and point out that the gabby giffords' shooter used a handgun with a high-capacity ammunition clip and so the assault weapons ban couldn't have done good there whereas their legislation would have. whether there's political reality seeping into that analysis, we can both assume that there may be, anderson. >> jessica, stay with us.
i want to bring in dan gross, president of the brady campaign to end gun violence. mr. gross, what do you make of what jessica is reporting? >> it's exactly what -- >> sorry, we're -- >> it looks like exactly -- >> we're having a hard time hearing you because of the announcement right now. we know you're on the train. let me bring jessica back and we'll come back to you again. hopefully, they will have stopped that announcement. in terms of what could be possible through executive order, what on this list -- i guess some of the information on background checks perhaps? >> reporter: expanding the way background checks -- the way background checks could be conducted could be done through executive order, making that information more readily available, improving the way especially mental health is reported forward could be done through executive order. and also gathering more research on where the guns are in america. that's another thing that could be done. there is a long list.
i could go on, anderson. you might want to get to your guest. >> let's check back in with dan gross. again, mr. gross, what do you make of this? is this what you expected? is this what you hoped for? >> it is what we expected and what we hoped for. you know, the president and vice president, from the beginning, have been saying they want to take an earnest look at what we can do to prevent not only tragedies like newtown but things that happen every day in our culture, gun deaths that happen every day and they want the american public consensus that we're hearing and there's a passionate outcry from the american public around all of these solutions and all of these solutions will prevent tragedies. >> if you're not able to get an assault weapons ban, which obviously seems to be the most difficult to get through congress and perhaps even the high-capacity magazines, would you be satisfied with all the other things on that list?
>> i mean, i don't think it's time to start parsing the list yet. the administration said they were looking for a comprehensive solution to everything we can to make it a safer nation. it's really going to be up to the american public now to rally a voice to hold our elected officials accountable to listen to the conversation that's going on in the public. and if we can do that, i don't think anything should be off the table. and if we can't, nothing will pass. the white house has done its job. we'll appreciate their continued leadership on this. now it's up to us, up to the american public to make our voice heard. and it's not time to -- >> we appreciate you joining us on the phone. we know you're on a train. jessica yellin as well. kyung l a. h joins us with the news bulletin. andrew cuomo today sign
tough new gun legislation into law, limits gun clips to seven rounds maximum. the national rifle association denounced the measure, saying it will have no impact on public safety and crime. now turning to breaking news from capitol hill, the house has approved a $50 billion aid package for areas hit hard by superstorm sandy. that's on top of the nearly $10 billion in flood relief money approved late last month. the senate will either have to take up the house bill or restart with a new bill for the $50 billion, which could delay relief efforts. weather watches and warnings are in effect from texas to main, flooding and icy conditions are the concern in places like tennessee while heavy snow is forecasted for parts of the midatlantic states and new england. and near stockholm, sweden, 20-year-old cleaning lady stole a train. her joy ride ended when she crashed it into an apartment build i
building. no one in the building was hurt but the woman was trapped in the wreckage for two hours. she was hospitalized with serious injuries. let that serve as a lesson to you at home, kiddies. >> why she decided to take that, who knows. kyung lah, thank you. a former marine jailed in mexico for four months, his parents fighting to bring him home. now he is finally free. i'll speak with him next. a hea. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. ♪
timely free from the mexican prison where he was held for four months. john hammer was chained to his bed at times. he was there on a questionable gun charge after crossing the border with a fellow veteran on a surfing trip. he took an antique shotgun that used to belong to his great grandfather. officials said he could bring it into mexico with the proper paperwork. as soon as he crossed the border
he was arrested and taken to jail. i spoke with hammer's parents in early december. they told me the conditions in prison were a nightmare and obviously terrible for him and them. after intervention from politicians, john hammer has finally been released. he joins me live. it is very good to see you become here. first of all, how are you doing? >> i'm all right, anderson. i'm doing a lot better. i was sick when i first got out. i spent five days in the hospital. but i think i'm doing a lot better right now. >> when you crossed the border, you told the u.s. border officials that you had this old gun, that you wanted to bring it down on this trip with you. what did they tell you? >> they told me if i fill out the proper paperwork that they were giving me and i declare it when i get into mexico, just across the border, that i should be fine. i paid a fee after i filled out their paperwork. took the paperwork and the weapon to the mexican side and
declared the shotgun. >> why did you want to bring a shotgun to mexico? >> that shotgun is -- you know, it was basically part of my camping equipment. we were planning on camping in the wilderness. so, if we were in a place where hunting was allowed, you know, and we saw something that we could eat and cook on a fire, you know, we would take the shot and have food. >> so you paid the fee. you fill out the forms. you cross over the border. basically you get arrested in mexico. they don't tell you at first they're going to arrest you. they're going to tell you they're going to take you some place. you end up in this jail. what were the conditions like when you first walk in the place? what's it like? >> well, the first jail that we went to was more like a holding cell. we spent four days over there. they released my friend because i was driving and i declared the shotgun. and after four days, they took me to prison. it was a state-run prison.
and the conditions were pretty bad, especially since they put me in solitary confinement after my first day. and, you know, they -- like you know, they chained me up and, you know, i spent the majority of the time by myself in like an outside shed. so i was outside for the whole time i was there. >> i know your parents got a call from other prisoners who were basically trying to extort money from you and from your family. >> right. when i first came into that prison, it was like 3:00 in the morning. and other inmates in there when i first got in there tried to extort money from my family and the american consulate was contacted and then they told the jail that they had to take me out of the general population. so, their solution to it was put me in a solitary confinement area and have the guards watch
me. >> i mean, i know you're a marine. you have military training. how do you not completely freak out, you know, in solitary confinement in a mexican prison with people outside the door, you know, who want to do you harm? >> it was very hard. and i had to really concentrate. and i think i had two books while -- i somehow got ahold of two books that were in english while i was in there. that helped me a lot. and other parts of it were, you know, i went through the phases of depression, anger and things like that. but, you know, i got through it. >> i know, you know, a number of news groups, politicians got involved. i know our gary tuchman went down there. were you aware that he was trying to get into the prison to talk to you? >> no, i had no idea. >> i have to ask that feeling of what was it like to finally be released, finally see your family and to know that you're
safe? >> it was pretty amazing. when i crossed that border, i was very sick at the time. but i still, you know, was thrilled and extremely grateful to have my freedom back and be able to see my family. >> i know the whole point of this trip is to have a relaxing time, to go surfing. you got some recovery to do. do you still want to go surfing? do you plan to still -- would you go back down to mexico? >> mexico has a lot of issues right now and you won't be seeing me in mexico for a long time, if ever. but there's a lot of other countries that i would like to visit that are, you know, involved with surfing. and, yeah, you know, in the near future hopefully i can get back in the water and do what i like to do. >> i was just on the north shore of oahu, they've got great waves there. i recommend that. it's pretty safe. i wish you the best. i'm so glad you're safe and back with your family. thank you. >> thank you, anderson. thank you very much. >> jon hammar, take care.
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welcome back. let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. kyung lah is back with a cnn news bulletin. from kentucky, officials say two people have died in a parking lot from a shooting. a third victim has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries. a child sex sting, investigators say the suspects were lured to a home after being led to what they believed were -- they were chatting online with children or parents offering their kids up for sex. walmart says it will hire 100,000 u.s. military veterans over the next five years. it will be one of the largest hiring commitments for veterans on record, according to the
realrea retailer. saw the drama drive right past his house. >> that's crazy. >> reporter: up close and personal. >> thanks so much. if your gps told you to drive to a whole different country, would you do it? ridiculist is next. we may see more cavities, bad breath, oral irritation. a dry mouth sufferer doesn't have to suffer. i would recommend biotene. the enzymes in biotene products help supplement enzymes that are naturally in saliva. biotene helps moisten those areas that have become dry. those that are suffering can certainly benefit from biotene. i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is!
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out on what should be an hour's drive. instead she ended up driving to croatia, 900 miles away. the journey took more than a day. she had to pull over, sleep, even got in a fender bender. the story is all over the place today. i have to admit, i was acceptable, sounds like an ounion article but reportedly told a belgian newspaper, quote, i switched on the gps and punched in the address. thn i started out. it seemed a bit wompgy. it sent me on several diversions and must have gone wrong. i saw ton of different sign posts first in french, later in german. >> make a right turn. >> wait, wait, wait. no, no. it means bear right. >> no. >> bear. >> it said right. it said take a right. >> no, no, no. look, it means go up to the right, bear right. >> make a right turn.